Decision at the Dalles - land or rapids
The Dalles wasn't really the end of the trail (that distinction belongs to Oregon City), but it was a crucial resting point for the weary immigrants. The community had long been a trading place, first among the disparate tribes and later between tribes and fur traders ("The Dalles" or "les dalles" referred to rocky chasms in the Columbia River, through which the river literally turned sideways in a whitewater torrent). At first, The Dalles became a resting place and restocking point for the pioneers. A military base was established here in 1850 following the Whitman Massacre. In its heyday, Fort Dalles was the most important US Army garrison in the region, serving as a source of troops to maintain peace between the settlers and Native Americans, and also as an emergency source of supplies for the settlers themselves. Part of the old fort still stands today, as the Fort Dalles Museum - Oregon's oldest historical museum.